Africans in the Pacific

In the Web page we examine the history of Africans in the Pacific Islands




The Pacific Islanders originally lived in Africa and

southern China. These blacks were called East Yi, Nan Yi, Man Yi,

Kunlun and li. Shun-Sheng Ling,observed that:

"During ancient times the majority of the inhabitants of

the Pacific coast of China belonged to the East Yi. The

East Yi people in accordance with the results of our re-

search consisted chiefly of peoples from Polynesia and


The East Yi, were a maritime people who inhabited the east

coast of Africa, the Asian mainland and the Pacific Islands in

ancient times. They built large lou chan (tower boats) that

could carry many people. (Ling 1970)

The commercial expertise of the Yi was well known .Because

they were such great seamen the term Yi was soon identified with

the word "Sea" in Chinese. On the Nan Yi, Shih Zhing, wrote in

the Mi Kung, that "Following the Huai Yi, all the maritime tribes

came to offer their allegiance. For this the credit should be

given the Marquis of Lu....As for the maritime tribes, the Huai

Yi, Man Mai and Nan Yi had all vowed their fealty and would obey

whatever the Marquis of Lu said".

The Oceanic proto-type is believed to have been found at

Dzuyang in China. Other skeletal examples of this type come from

the Dawenkou culture. (Chang 1987) At Dawenkou there was skull

deformation and extraction of teeth--customs which are similar to

the Polynesian group. Chinese archaeologists believe that the

Dawenkou people were the Proto-Pacific islanders.

The south Chinese share religious customs and blood type with

the Pacific islanders. The bird egg motif is found along the

eastern coastal region of China. This motif is also established

among the Polynesians, whose creator god Tangaroa maui had an

identical birth as the founders of the Shang dynasty from a

bird's egg. (Ling 1970; Chang 1980) Moreover, the Oceanic people

and South Chinese share the same blood type HLA antigen.

The languages spoken in the Pacific are called Austronesian.

Austronesian refers to the language family of the modern Pacific

islanders including those of Polynesia, Micronesia, Indonesia and

the Philippines. Bellwood (1979) believes that South China was

the home-land of the Austronesian speakers.

During the pleistocene, sea levels were lower and the

islands of the Pacific were connected to the mainland. This land

mass was named sundaland. Until very recently, in geological

time, the Southeast Asian area extended to the Indonesian

islands, the Philippines and across New Guinea to Australia and

Tasmania. (Bellwood 1979)

As the ice melted after the end of the last Ice Age, the sea

levels began to rise and the inhabitants of the Sunda(land) shelf

retreated to the coast of South China and northern Vietnam. Other

groups such as the Negritos or Anu, were stranded on many islands

as the Pacific ocean covered up Sundaland.Pottery from the lowest

levels of sites in southeast Asia is founds in the Philippines,.

As early as 9000 B.C. the Austronesian speakers had developed

elaborate drainage techniques. These folk were probably Anu and

Austroloid people. They were a sedentary people practicing

horticulture. As early as 5000 B.C. metallurgy was known, and

iron was being exploited by Austronesians 3000 years ago.

Kirch (1985) believes that the early Austronesians expanded

across Southeast Asia,the Philippines and eastern Indonesia by

5000 B.C. By 4000 B.C., Austronesian people began to leave the

mainland and settled islands as far away as Madagascar and

Eastern Island.

After 2500 B.C., Oceanic-Africoid people began to invade

Micronesia. Many of these people came directly from Africa and

Kumarinadu. It was this group that spread a megalithic culture

from Africa and India all the way to Southeast Asia and the

Pacific.These Melanesian people are very closely related to the

Africoid group in modern Africa in culture and language. (Winters


Southern China was a center of civilization for the black

Austronesian and Oceanic peoples. These Blacks were called Yi and

Yueh in the Chinese records. They made beautiful bronze drums

which were decorated with examples of their sailing craft.

The classical mongoloids formed the Shang-Yin Dynasty, as

opposed to the Li min "Black heads", who founded both the Xia,

and first Shang dynasty. The Yin drove the li min and Yueh people

This is the Chinese sign for Shang

into western China, especially Gansu and Yunnan. From here the

blacks moved into Indo-China which was already settled by the

Naga and other Afro-Indo groups.

The of Southern China settled Polynesia after they were

forced southward by first classical mongoloids and later the Zhou

and Qin armies. This is supported by the similarity of the Lapita

pottery, and the Dapenkeng and Longshan pottery from southern


The Shang oracle term for boat ba (fa) and the Polynesia

words for boat pahi, pae ,are cognates. (Ling 1970, p.117) This,

along with the affinity of the unique relief carving from

Moanalua Valley, O'ahu island in the Pacific that resemble the

Shang-Yin totem sign Fu Tzu/ Fu Hao without the Fu element, all

agree with a South Chinese migration to the Pacific Islands.

(Winters 1986 b; Kirch 1985,p.117)

This is an example of an Oracle bone document



1. The first hominid group to occupy the Pacific Islands were (a)

negritos (b) homo erectus (c) Austroloid.

2. The ancestors of modern Austroloids first lived in (a) South-

asia (b) China (c) Australia.

3. Negrito remnants are found in (a) Malaya (b) Indonesia (c)


4. Austronesia languages are spoken in (a) South Pacific (b)

North Pacific (c) both.

5. Austronesian speakers invented the (a) outrigger canoe (b)

outrigger canoe (c) both.

6. The Pacific islanders originally came from (a) India (b) South


Recently Williams John Page (1988) discussed the Lakato

Hypothesis. The Lakato Hypothesis stated simply implies that the

Melanesian people of Fiji were carried to the Pacific Islands by

Indonesian maritime merchants after they had colonized parts of

East and central Africa. In these Indonesian centers, Page (1988)

believes that the Africans "gravitated into the Indonesian

inspired trade". Page (1988) wrote that :

"It is further suggested that the Lakato colonies in

Africa were the principal contributors to the earliest

settlements of Malagasy and responsible for the traces

of Indonesian influence in Africa which have endured into

modern times, as identified by previous investigators".

To support this hypothesis Page (1988) presents place names

that are made up of African ethnic names (AEN) as roots for

Fijian placenames. These toponyms include a multitude of hills,

streams and villages composed of a simple AEN root plus a Fijian

placenames e.g.,koro, wai-ni-, vatu and na-. Page (1988, p.34)

found 270 AEN's forming part of Fijian place names (FPN). The

interesting fact about the AEN and FPN cognates is that they are

found in West Africa and not East Africa. (Page 1988, p.47)

This fact negates Page's (1988) hypothesis because there are

no rivers in Africa that link East Africa and West Africa. This

suggest that Africans who later settled West Africa must have

been in the Pacific long before the Austronesians arrived on

Madagascar. This view is supported by the fact that the classical

mongoloid people did not arrive in the Pacific area until after

500 B.C.

Page (1988,p.66) believes that the AEN-FPN cognates are the

result of the establishment of Indonesian colonies first along

the Zambia river and from there into Central and Western Africa

between the fourth and eleventh centuries A.D. During this period

Bantu speakers are believed to have been incorporated into the

Indonesian Lakota culture and between the eleventh to sixteenth

A.D. settled in Melanesia by Lakota fleets. (Page 1988, p.66)

Although Page's (1988,p.67) theory is interesting the fact

that the AENs that are FPN's are prefixed to a multitude of

hills, streams and villages" indicate that these place names are

very old because the names for hills and streams are rarely


Page (1988, p.67) noted four common prefixes used in the

FPN's: Koro 'village,hill', wai-ni- 'water of'; vatu- 'stone';

and na- 'the'. These terms are closely related to Manding terms

as illustrated below:

FPN English Manding

koro hill kuru

koro village so-koro

wai-ni water of ba-ni 'course

of water'

vatu stone bete

na the ni

As illustrated above the AENs and Manding terms are analogous for

'hill', 'the' and 'of'. It would appear that the FPN /w/

corresponds to Manding /b/. Due to the thousands of miles

separating the Manding and AENs, this cognate can be explained as

loan words. Given the full agreement of these terms suggest a

genetic relationship between AENs and Manding and descent from


In addition to AENs serving as FPNs we find many toponyms in

Oceania that corresponds to West African place names. In

illustration 27:1 we see 36 place names from Oceania and West

Africa that share full correspondence.

Manding ,Polynesian and Melanesian share many terms for

kinship, dwellings, topographical features, dwellings and







Alamand Alamanda

Alika Alika

Alika Arika

Babonga Babonga

Bagola Bagola

Batori Batori

Bakaka Bakaka

Bambula Bambula

Buduri Buduri

Burbura Burbura

Gambia Gambia

Kalobi Kalobi

Kalonda Kalonda

Kalonga Kalonga

Kamalo Kamalo

Kambia Kambia

Kamori Kamori

Kantara Kantara

Karako Karako

Kayata Kayata

Kukula Kukula

Magari Magari

Magura Maguri

Makara Makara

Marosi Maros

Oronga Oronga

Palanka Palanka

Parapara Parapara

Sio Sio

Sumbura Sumbura

Tamana Tamana

Taraba Taraba

Taramal Taramal

Teleki Teleki

Totoki Totoki

Varong Varong




(These place names were collected by Dr. Vamos Toth Bator, they

are taken from his multivolume Tamana, series.)







Common Terms:

English Manding Melanesian Polynesian

arrow bye,bya fana,pane fana,pana

Father baba babi papa

Man tye ta taga-ta

head ku tequ-qa tuku-noa

pot daga taga taga

vase bara pora,bora bora-bora

fish yege ige, ika ika

ox, cattle konga,gunga kede kuda





The earliest Austronesian language speakers appeared on the

mainland around 6000 years ago. Except for Formosa/Taiwan, there

are no Austronesian speakers on the mainland today. (Bellwood

1991, p.90) Benedict (1990) a specialist in Austronesian

languages sees a relationship between the Austronesian and Thai


Again it should be remembered that the ancient Chinese called

the Austronesians Yin. The first Austronesian sites in Southeast

Asia and southern China include the Qlinglingkang culture. Here

6000 years ago people made stone knives and pottery and raised

cattle and pigs. Other Austronesian sites include Dapenkeng,

Longshanoid, Hoabinhian and Yuanshan. (Chang 1987, Bellwood 1990)

The ancient Austronesians cultivated rice, millet, yams and

sugarcane. (Bellwood 1990, p.92)

It would appear that the Polynesians learned agriculture from

the Manding as illustrated below:

Polynesian English Manding

*talun fallow, land daa

*tanem to plant, sow daa

*suluq torch, jet of flame suu

*kuDen cooking pot,bowl ku

The reference to the Manding in the Pacific should not be

surprising because Manding speakers helped found the Xia dynasty

in China, and would have been among the ethnic groups pushed into

south China and thence the Pacific islands by the mongoloid

peoples after 500 B.C Other Manding may have settled the islands

before then as explorers given the persistence of Manding terms

agreeing with Pacific island place names.

Melanesian and Manding are also very close in the area of

agricultural terms:

Melanesian English Manding

sagora wool saga-gi

bara,a-par,pal house bo

kerru mountain kuru

kana land,place ka, kan

imu rain mi

sala path,road sila

gala-pi grand ka

mitei fruit mete

wana,wan go wa


The Austronesian speakers built the earliest sea going canoes

and were great fishermen. During their spread from the mainland

to the islands, they took along tubers and fruits.Cereal plant

cultivation was not taken with these sea-voyagers as they

occupied the islands in Micronesia and Polynesia. (Bellwood 1979)

These ancient folk made their homes atop mounds and used

irrigation to grow the crops. They used stone and wooden tools.

Black Austronesians are credited with inventing outrigger

canoes and even the Chinese Junk and Sampan.(Ling 1970, p.211)

There is also a close relationship between the Austronesian

/Polynesian, Manding and Tamil languages:


English Austronesian Tamil Manding

house,building *balay gibu,pura fa, ba

write *surat carru sewe

iron,metal *bari irumpu bara 'tongs of

the blacksmith'


land *babaw bey,benni be

yam *qubi kiranku,kuni ku

garden *qumah kalli ka

dog *wasu ori wuru

canoe,boat *qaban kalam kulu

holy man *datu,tu'i tuyan tu

deity ku ko ku

high chief mana mannan mansa

unit of land mo'o man ma

fallow land *talun natu dugu

pondfield lo'i pulam

stone chisel ko'i kere

The cognition of these languages is not surprising given the

affinity between the Dravidian languages in spoken Southeast Asia

and the Pacific.


Most of the inhabitants of Oceania are Africoids. They made

their way eastward from Africa through India, to Southeast Asia,

southern China, Indonesia and the islands in the Pacific.

Polynesians or Oceanic-Africoids practiced artificial

irrigation, megalithic architecture, well developed religion and

divine kingship. Matrilineal descent was part of many Pacific


The people in this area practiced the Lapita culture. These

folk were long distance merchants. They were mobile colonists who

communicated by sea.

The names for the Pacific islands relate to the people who

lived on the islands. For example, Melanesia, means "Black

Islands"; Micronesia, means "Small Islands"; and Polynesian,

means "Many Islands".

The earliest culture of the Pacific was the Lapita culture. It

spread in the Pacific area between 1600-1200 B.C. (Kirch 1980;

Craib 1983) The Lapita culture is characterized by ceramic

cooking pots, bowls and dishes. The ceramics are laced with

intricate horizontal bands and geometric designs. (Craib 1983)

The motifs on the ceramics agree with Polynesian tattoo signs.

The Lapita people ate seafood and collected nuts and

fruits. The Lapita folk also had domesticated animals including

pigs and chickens.

Some of the Lapita people may have been part of the

megalithic culture element which invaded the Pacific area

directly from Africa.

The Oceanic Africoids or Melanesians were expert seamen.

Lapita culture was early established in the area of the Bismarck

Archipelago. From here bearers of Lapita culture colonized Tonga

and Samoa. (White & Allen 1980)

The Lapita folk used the stars to navigate the Pacific. There

was an extensive network of trade routes extending over 2700


Yueh ethnic groups from southern China began to settle in the

Pacific after 500 B.C.. These people spoke Dravidian and African

languages. Between A.D. 200 to 700, classical Mongoloids began to

dominate Eastern Polynesian. These Mongoloids are called Yin , in

the Chinese literature, but they should not be confused with the

black Yi ethnic groups who formerly dominated coastal China.

As the Mongoloid people began to occupy the Southeast Asian

mainland, the Indo-African populations set out by boat to settle

the Polynesian islands. J. Fraser believed that Hawaiian art

gained much of its inspiration from India. He felt that

Polynesia had first been settled by Black races from India. E.S.

Handy had a theory that the first settlers of the Polynesian

islands were Dravidians.

The Dravidian languages are closely related to languages

spoken in the Pacific. For example in 1919, Schmidt in Die

Gleederung der Australischen Sprachen, presented evidence which

pointed to a connection between Dravidian languages and the

Australian languages. This theme was also discussed by N.M.

Holmes in On the History and Structure of the Australian

Languages, he illustrated that the grammar and phonetics of

Australian and Dravidian languages coincide.

Susumu Ohno , and Clyde Ahmad Winters have indicated that

the Tamil language was one of the root languages of Japanese.

C.A.Winters has shown that the Japanese language and culture

also has affinity to the Manding culture and their language.

H.B. Hubber in A comparative grammar of the Korean languages and

the Dravidian Family, claimed that the Dravidian languages

influenced the Korean languages. This view can best be supported

by the presence of Yueh peoples in Korea, before the colonization

of the country by the Korean people.

The relationship between the Manding and Tamil, and the

Austronesian, Korean and Japanese languages results from the

spread of the Yueh and East Yi people, from Yunnan, Indo-China

and southern China out into the Pacific.

The Japanese and Korean languages are classified within the

Altaic Superset of languages. The Manding and Dravidian

substratum in Japanese, Korean and Hungarian which all belong to

the Altaic group highlight the former presence of the Yueh people

across Central Asia and the Pacific.

Many Polynesians who are classified as Mongoloid people show

clear genetic characteristics inherited from the Austroloid

peoples. By A.D. 1000, the Classical Mongoloid people began to

mix with the Austroloid and Oceanic (i.e., Indo-African people)

peoples. By this time the Mongoloids were hunting Oceanic people

to sell as slaves.

The peoples of the continental Pacific islands grew many

crops. The chief food for these people were sweet potatoes and

taro. Their diet was supplemented by fish and pigs.

The low-island people lived almost entirely on coconut palm.

Wood for houses came from the trunks. The meat of the coconut was

used for food. The husks of coconuts were made into ropes and


In conclusion, it is obvious that the Yueh people of the

Lapita culture who settled the Pacific islands before the

Austronesian expansion after 500 B.C., spoke Indo-African

languages related to the Dravidian and Manding groups. The

linguistic evidence makes it clear that West Africans were

settled in the Pacific islands long before Page's (1988)

Lakato culture bearers would have arrived on the East African


A comparison of Melanesian, Dravidian, Manding and Polynesian

languages show considerable cognation in the area of kinship

terms. A review of this material indicates that speakers of these

languages lived in dwellings established in sedentary villages,

led by chiefs and /or holy men. They hunted with bow and arrow,

made pottery and possessed writing. In addition, they share the

terms for fish, domesticated animals and root and grain crops,

the deity, and major topographical features.

The historical and archaeological evidence supports a two

wave Indo-African migration to the Pacific. The first wave of

Indo-Africans to settle the Pacific were the Yueh people who were

forced out of southern China by the Shang Yin and later Zhou

warriors after 1500 B.C.. The Yueh probably introduced the Lapita

culture, since many of the Longshan people used incised red


The second wave of Indo-Africans came from S.E. Asia and

Yunnan. These Indo-Africans were the Kosar (Kushana) of Indian

tradition, who were forced out of Yunnan by the Hua (modern

Chinese mongoloids), and in Vietnam by the Thai speakers. The

classical Mongoloids who also settled Polynesia after 500 B.C.,

were heavily influenced by the Indo-Africans of the Shu and

Dongson cultures.






Books on this topic

There are several books that discuss the ancient Afrocentric world, including W.E.B.DuBois': Negro and The World and Africa; John G. Jackson, Introduction to African Civilizations; and Chiekh Anta Diop's : The African Origin of Civilization, and Civilization of Barbarism. All of these books can be obtained by ordering directly from:


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